Dynasty Recap: 1×06 “I Exist Only For Me”

 

Previously on Dynasty: The same clips of Fallon wanting the COO job and Cristal getting it; Fallon declared that she’s building the company with Jeff on her own; Jeff said he needed to rethink the company with Fallon; Fallon leaked Cristal’s sex tape and got kicked out of Blake’s house; Kori Rucks, a councilwoman, slept with Michael; Claudia publicly accused Blake of killing Matthew; Cristal apologized to Claudia but Blake ran over Claudia just as she was about to bean Cristal with a cement block.

We open on Sam chomping and iPad-viewing at the breakfast table alone. He really does make himself at home, doesn’t he? Anders answers the phone and informs whoever it is that it’s “just me. And the man-child.” God, Anders, SHUT UP. Even if Sam is a man-child, everyone knows that the proper way to show a déclassé guest his place is to be superciliously polite while shooting expressive looks at his underdressed outfits. Not just insulting him obnoxiously at every chance you get.

Anyway, Sam is just worried about Cristal getting home in time to take him suit shopping for his interview shopping. Anders is pleased to note that Sam’s taken his advice until he sees the “drug- and disease-free” note on his resume, which is going to make any sane hiring manager blanch anyway even if it weren’t a lie.

Steven, who studiously neglects to greet Sam when he comes in to get some food off the usual gorgeous side-table breakfast spread, is similarly concerned when he hears that Cristal and Blake are still at the hospital, because he’s supposed to go over grant proposals with Blake. I guess that’s slightly less self-centered than Sam’s concern. Sam says, “I know you told me that you weren’t going to hate me, but you might wanna tell your face.” Hee. Steven just points out that there’s a long way to go between hate and actual friendship.

Fallon is waiting in the grand foyer when Steven emerges, claiming that what she did was just a prank, compared to Steven’s protests. Steven says she’s lucky she’s not being sued. “Lucky? I have to live at the Ritz, Steven,” Fallon says with the perfect blend of indignation and possible self-satire. She points out that he criticizes Dad but has come back to work at the Foundation. Steven says that she wouldn’t understand the concept of the greater good, withdrawing his usual brotherly, affectionate indulgence. Indignant and in no way drawing a lesson from it all, Fallon stands in the middle of the foyer and yells for help with her bags.

Fallon busts in on a meeting Jeff is having with an unnamed colleague and acts like nothing has happened between them. Jeff says, “Beyond profits, I’m worried about us.” He repeats that he’s not sure they should be in business at all. Fallon says she hopes it won’t make the launch party awkward. Poor Jeff is like, wuh huh? She pleads that this is the only thing going right in her life, but she wants this for him too, and will prove she’s committed to him. Oh, and by the way, the party needs to be at his house because she was kicked out of hers. Jeff can’t help but smile as he leaves, if somewhat ruefully.

Claudia is in the hospital with Cristal and Blake, who’s already complaining about having spent twelve hours watching over this woman that he run over. Yeah, you’re a fucking hero, Blake. Claudia wakes up while they argue about whether they need to stay with her, and Cristal offers morphine, which Claudia refuses. Cristal looks confused (she obviously doesn’t know that the first rule of soap operas is that dead men always leave behind pregnant women). But her confusion is quickly dissipated when Claudia’s doctor comes in and announces to the whole room that the baby is fine. (HIPAA is only for keeping information from plebes, dontcha know. Rich people get to hear whatever information they want!) “Why didn’t you tell us?” Cristal says, like it is any of her business whatsoever that the woman whose husband she had an affair with is pregnant.

When the doctor leaves, Blake asks if Claudia has anyone to drive her home, which gets an eyeroll from everyone. Cristal, looking beatifically convinced that her terrible idea is an amazing one, announces that they’re going to take Claudia home to the manor with them so she can recuperate with people to watch her. Uh, I hope Cristal’s driving.

After the break, Cristal escorts a shellshocked-looking Claudia into the manor and sends her off to the east wing. As soon as she’s gone Anders complains that she’s like a stray who should be spayed and neutered. Claudia gasps that she’s pregnant, but rather than awakening any kind of shame in Anders, Anders just declares that his diapering days are over. Um, I don’t think you get to just declare to your employer that you’re not going to do things.

But Blake, always ready to undermine Cristal rather than actually manage Anders, jumps in to agree. He doesn’t care that she’s pregnant unless it’s his. Classy, Blake! Cristal gives her usual big-eyed shocked look, but still doesn’t seem to realize that she should run far, far away from Blake. Blake—who, like any good narcissist, has no conception that other people’s motivations might differ from his—thinks Claudia’s just accepting their offer to get dirt on them, for revenge purposes. He also doesn’t want to lose his COO to caretaking duties. Cristal gets all offended at this and says she’s a modern woman who can handle it all. I mean, it probably helps an awful lot to have a whole bunch of your husband’s servants around to do most of the stuff you need. Very modern indeed.

At the office, Monica asks Fallon why she’s really planning a launch party in 24 hours. She points out that Fallon’s been flaking out on her brother until Michael started hooking up with Kori. “You go where the attention is,” she says. Fallon denies this, and shows Monica her guest list. Monica points out that none of Jeff’s contacts are on it, and Fallon says this is because she needs to “control the vibe,” and all of Jeff’s contacts are losers. Wow. Monica resists slapping Fallon and instead convinces her to expand the list. Monica says it’s because in tech, losers turn into winners with one big idea. Especially if they’re white men, goes unsaid.

Steven and Blake are in Blake’s office, Steven showing Blake a list of proposals that will take the charity left. Blake insults Steven as being in a “liberal bubble” and blames it on “laziness, propaganda, and ignorance.” Wow. There’s some sniping about Steven’s time away from the family, and finally Steven asks Blake to pitch his favorite non-liberal-bubble charities, then. Blake takes up the challenge.

Claudia’s hanging out in the dining room when Cristal (wearing a foofy suit in a very on-trend millennial pink) finds her and excitedly declares that she took the morning off to show her around. Cristal seems to be convinced that they’re going to be best pals now, which is possibly even more naive than thinking it’s a great idea to marry Blake Carrington. Claudia asks if all the decorative urns are filled with other people Blake’s run over. Hee! Cristal tries to bond with her over being just a regular girl who got lost in the mansion when she first came, but Claudia says these are “champagne problems” and that she’s not here to make Cristal feel better.

Just then the dog joins them, and while Cristal pets him, Claudia remarks that it’s probably nice not to have to clean up after the dog. Cristal tries again to bond over their working-class backgrounds, but Claudia just says, “Right. We have so much in common.” Burn. Cristal looks awkward, but conveniently gets a phone call from work to save her from responding.

Next thing you know poor Cristal is begging Sam to help her out by watching Claudia today, since she has to go into work. But Sam is happily sunbathing by the pool that isn’t his, so he demands payment in return. Claudia sighs and gives him her black card, saying not to tell Blake. “The best cure for crazy is crazy money,” says Sam. Ha! I wish the show included more clever one-liners like this; a lot of the quips Fallon makes have felt kind of strained and self-conscious, with puns that don’t quite land.

Cut to Sam and Claudia standin gin the foyer as people wheel in giant racks of clothing and trays of cupcakes and champagne. Claudia acts kind of dour about it (so far she’s pretty much only had two character notes—“kind of dour” and “scenery-chewing-level angry”), but Sam works her over, wheedling that she deserves this because “they hit you with their rich-people car.” He undeniably has a point. Next thing you know, they’re drinking champagne and getting makeovers, and finally collapsing on the couch in a happy daze. Claudia even has an actual smile on her face. Sam says it’s easy to get addicted to this lifestyle and then offers to show her the apartment he grew up in, which is supposedly smaller than Cristal’s closet. “Want to see it?” Sam says.

Blake and Steven are visiting an athletic club where kids are learning to box, which Steven is surprised at because he expected an “NRA youth self-defense club.” They meet a handsome white dude who seems to run the program, and intoduces them to a cute, tough tween girl named Rudy who’s got a fight tomorrow. They agree to come to her fight, charmed.

I’m not sure how I feel about Steven learning to respect Blake’s dumb boxing charity without Blake learning to respect any of his causes in return. Some kind of Trump-induced psychosis seem to have convinced mainstream white liberals that they need to bend over backwards giving a “fair hearing” to even the most absurd conservative propaganda just to prove that they’re objective and fair to the very people who will never be convinced that liberals are objective. (Not that a boxing club for kids is absurd propaganda; it’s reasonably inoffensive.) But I do feel like the show is reflecting something I see in real life all the time, where liberals feel obliged to hear all sides while dudes like Blake just keep smugly getting richer. And damn, I think this show gives Blake—by far the most milquetoast villain in the Josh Schwartz canon—way too much credit for having any brains, ideas, or cleverness at all.

Anyway. Back at the Manor, Claudia, still in the glittery evening gown she put on for the makeover montage, marvels at Claudia’s giant closet, which is also larger than my last apartment and includes multiple shelves just for hats. Sam puts a fur coat and giant white hat on Claudia and yells, “Work it!” Just then Blake comes in. Oops! Claudia claims it’s all her fault, which is heroic of her, and then pulls out the big guns, fluttering her eyelashes and saying it was “nice to forget” the outside world. She makes to take off the fur coat, but Blake, who apparently bought her whole act, just says, “Keep it. You’re beautiful.” Sam’s face is like WHOA. It’s pretty amusing.

Jeff finds Fallon at the office and Fallon gives him an update on the party. He wants to add some people named “Johnny Davis and Brayden Webb,” or some other set of crazy names. Fallon already knows them—she tried to poach them and when they refused, she threatened to turn them into “nerd sauce.” Heh. But Jeff wants to invite them, and asks, “What’s more important? Your pride or this company?” Obviously the answer is her pride, but she clearly knows that she’s supposed to say the company.

That night, Claudia sits around in silk pajamas when Cristal brings in some flowers. They remark on how much things have changed. But Claudia says that Cristal’s not her friend. “I know Matthew would have been an amazing…” Cristal starts, but Claudia interrupts to say, yup, Matthew is the father and they never stopped having sex even if Cristal thinks they did. She yells at Cristal for taking Matthew even though she had all of this, too, and then throws the vase of flowers at the wall behind Cristal’s head. Cristal flees, leaving Claudia sinking to the bed. And here I thought Sam was the worst houseguest anyone could ever be! But vase-throwing and fur-coat-stealing is just the beginning for Claudia.

In their room, Cristal admits to Blake that he was right and Claudia shouldn’t be here. But Blake, who seems to have changed his mind about Claudia once he realized how she looked in a dress, blames Cristal for bringing up Matthew and making Claudia go all psycho. “Look at me, you have me talking empathy and compassion,” he remarks. “Stop rubbing off on me.”

Steven’s at the club watching the end of Rudy’s fight. He offers to buy ice cream after she showers, but then he catches a glimpse of Stansfield in a photo on the wall.

Fallon and Jeff (who, true to form, is wearing the most amazing paisley suit) are watching their party get underway. “You manned up and got me my tech twins,” Jeff remarks. “They look like they could use an apology.” Fallon decides to make a speech instead. She gets up to introduce their new company as their “baby,” and compliments Jeff effusively before giving up the mic to him, in a very un-Fallon-like show of teamwork. Jeff welcomes everyone too, but Fallon’s face falls when she sees Michael has shown up with Kori.

The next morning, Sam and Cristal walk down the hall as Sam offers to smooth things over “between the missus and the mistress.” Cristal remarks on the receipts, and Sam says, “Forgiveness ain’t cheap.” He offers to spend even more tomorrow, but before Cristal can roll her eyes even further into her head, they hear screaming from the living room. They find Claudia frantically explaining that she dropped her pills and the dog started eating them. Immediately, of course, my mind went to “she fed the dog the pills on purpose to get revenge on Cristal.” Anders comes in to find Cristal frantically declaring they need to take the dog to the vet.

Over at the party, Monica is questioning whether Fallon cares if Kori “rode in on that stallion that you are definitely not having sex with.” Michael has his arm around Kori’s waist right in view of Fallon, who sucks down champagne angrily and goes off to get another drink. She runs into the nerds on the way, and they brag that their stocks are ten dollars a share, which she said would never happen. Fallon, who probably already exhausted all her niceness for the entire month with that speech earlier, says she doesn’t have time to reminisce about the past because today is about the future, and walks away. She then runs into Kori, who says smugly that she was surprised to be invited and then brags gratuitously that Michael is taking her to Miami that weekend. “If you last that long,” Fallon says. Kori accuses her of being bitter and says that she and Michael never appeared in public because Michael was ashamed of Fallon, not the other way around. Fallon looks a little gobsmacked, but catches a glimpse of Michael going into the bathroom and gives Kori a faux-polite signoff before hurrying away.

She busts into the bathroom just as Michael finishes peeing and accuses him of trying to make her jealous. He denies it, but she says, “You did this to get a rise out of me and now I’m going to get a rise out of you.” Sounding impatient and bored, he tries to get away, but she says, “Your mouth says no, but your friend seems pretty interested.” Yikes. Michael tells her it’s not happening, but before he can leave she says—sounding actually kind of hurt—that he never invited her to Miami. He points out that she never claimed him as her boyfriend in front of Blake and never seemed to have feelings for him, which she sort of denies.

Then she walks out of the bathroom, catches Kori’s eye, and wipes her mouth ostentatiously. Gross! Poor Kori sees this and then sees Michael coming out of the bathroom right after Fallon, and walks away without saying a word to Michael. Fallon looks absurdly pleased with herself.

Michael finds Kori looking upset in the kitchen. He claims nothing happened, and she says “That was the most convincing faux-job I’ve ever seen.” (That’s exactly what I meant by self-conscious, slightly strained puns.) Michael says he knows what he has with her and would never throw that away for two minutes in the bathroom with Fallon. Kori, convinced, offers to show Michael how to get into trouble in her own bathroom. Um, hot?

Fallon watches their reconciliation unhappily, and Jeff tries to comfort her but she instead strides away and invites the nerds, somewhat peremptorily, to have a drink with her.

Blake pours a drink in his room and then finds what he apparently thinks is Cristal in the bathtub, candles ablaze. He gives her a very condescending compliment on being able to handle meetings and caretaking on the same day, strips naked, and climbs into the bathtub without being invited. Of course it turns out to be Claudia. He’s horrified and climbs out, handing Claudia a towel. She thanks him and says he’s so kind, and then falls into his arms. Cristal walks in at this inconvenient moment, just as Blake is taking FAR too long to push the naked, soapy woman out of his arms.

Back at the party, Fallon’s doing shots with the nerds and asking them to share their tech with Morell Corp. I forget what the tech is, but it doesn’t really matter. When she winces, they make a jab about “nerd sauce.” She calls them the “Kanyes of Silicon Valley” and says they’re good with the ideas but not the business, or something. (Is that even true of Kanye? I thought the dude was good at pretty much everything, when mental health stuff wasn’t getting in the way.) Jeff catches a glimpse of what’s happening and tries to pull Fallon away, but she’s way too drunk to be stopped now.

Back in the room, Cristal is yelling at Blake for his obviously unbelievable cover story. He says he’d never be stupid enough to cheat when Cristal could walk in at any moment. “Or ever,” he adds when he sees Cristal’s face. Heh. He says she’s sick and she needs 24-hour medical care. Cristal says sadly that she wanted to help, but Blake points out that this might have more to do with her feelings for Matthew, who’s going to live on in this child. He says it’s OK to think about this stuff but not OK to keep Claudia in their lives just to cling to Matthew’s memory. Cristal agrees to kick Claudia out.

The party over, Jeff feeds a drunk Fallon some water. She complains cutely that it’s not vodka, and he tries to put a jacket around her but she just throws it away. He takes her dress off and she giggles that he’s trying to seduce her. But when she kisses him, he protests that she’s drunk. “Fine, just leave me here, like everyone else,” she says. He remarks that this is unlike her, and she pleads, “Am I really that unlovable?” He says he’s still there, and this time he kisses her back.

Cristal finds Claudia and Claudia starts to plead that she made a mistake because of her traumatic brain injury. Cristal tries to kick her out by saying she wants what’s best for Claudia—which is a mistake, because Claudia can just get around it by saying she doesn’t want to leave and she’s afraid to be alone. Then she asks Cristal to raise the baby with her. Awkward! Should’ve just kicked her out straightaway, Cristal.

Steven shows up at the boxing club and asks the coach guy about Stansfield, who the coach says is amazing—he convinced Blake to give the club $250K a year. Steven’s confused—he thought it was a million a year. The coach notices nothing weird about this, but as soon as he’s alone, Steven calls someone and asks them to pull the books for last year. Uh-oh.

Fallon wakes up in Jeff’s apartment; he brings her what looks like a Bloody Mary or something. She asks if they had sex, but he says she would’ve remembered. Then she asks what happened; she only remembers railing on the “douche nerds,” but he tells her that she gave them such good advice that they decided they loved her and decided to share their tech with Morell for under market value. Fallon, sounding actually genuine, demurs that they only came around because of Jeff. They agree that they’re a team, and Jeff says that she can stay with him while she figures out her living situation. She smiles and falls back on the bed, which by the way is covered in fur pillows.

Cristal caresses the apparently recovered dog while she catches Sam up on the Claudia situation, which he summarizes as “booty and bubbles.” She claims she’s not considering raising the baby with Claudia at all. Then Sam gets a call from the vet, who informs him that the pills in the bottle were just “benzos.” Cristal asks if the doctors or pharmacists screwed up, but Sam syas maybe it’s Hitchcock: maybe someone switched out Claudia’s pills to make sure she didn’t get better. Who could it possibly be? Cristal wonders with wide eyes, apparently not even the least bit concerned that it might be the guy who just, you know, ran over Claudia with his rich-people car. (Although really, I think it’s Anders. That guy is seriously the worst.)

Conclusion

 This episode had similar ingredients as the previous episodes: a big party to bring everyone together, an elaborate web of sexual intrigue, Jeff wearing amazing clohtes, and Fallon being hilariously self-involved. There’s not much to say about all of that that I haven’t already said, but this week they added an important new element: a makeover montage (my second-favorite kind of montage, after “training” and before “falling in love”). So that’s cool. I would definitely watch the Sam and Claudia show for an hour a week–Sam, with his quips and his total shamelessness, is rapidly becoming my least favorite character.

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